Friday, July 31, 2015

✔ What I learned about productivity, perseverance and long-term thinking from Jenson Button’s win in F1 2011 Canada GP

First off, this article is about productivity. You don’t have to know anything about F1. So stay with me. Before we start, I’m a huge Formula 1 fan and every year I’m watching most of the ~20 Grand Prix races. I’m also a triathlete. That’s why I really like Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 champion. He’s also competing in triathlons and he’s a really good driver. This season he’s not having the best of luck as he’s racing in an uncompetitive McLaren Honda, but I remember some really great races he’s done in the past and there was one particular race which Jenson himself calls “the best of his career”. He won that race… even though he was last in the middle of the race! There’s so much we can learn from this story:

Jenson Button

Formula 1 Grand Prix Canada, 2011

Jenson is 7th on the start. Far away from Sebastian Vettel who is most likely to win the race, being 1st on the start. There’s rain, so the cars start behind the safety car.

When racing began, Jenson Button makes some mistakes and on lap 8 he hits his teammate Lewis Hamilton and has to do a pit stop. He comes back to the race at position 12. But it doesn’t get any better. Turns out he was speeding in pit lane, so has a “drive through penalty” which means, he has to drive slowly through pit lane and lose even more time… and positions. Now he’s 15th… and it’s not getting any better:

Monday, November 2, 2009

F1 Pit Lane - Iterate Quickly and Focus on the Essential

Yesterday I watched this season's last Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. I'm a big Formula 1 fan, love the races and especially now when we have our own Robert Kubica as one of the drivers.

Although I really dig F1, the races can very often appear boring, especially when there is no rain, no crushes, no major breakdowns... just like it was yesterday, but if you take a closer look, what's happening on the race is always at the fastest pace, greatest speed.

And almost everything is being decided in the Pit Lane - the place where the drivers go to change tires and tank fuel. And they do it all in less than 10 seconds!


That's right - it takes less than 10 seconds to tank tens of liters of fuel and change 4 tires. Incredible. And it's something all the industries should be watching and learning from.

Just think about it.

The mechanics are not wasting their time. They don't do anything unnecessary like washing the car or chit-chatting with the driver... nope, they need to get the car back on the track as soon as possible.

The F1 pit lane reminded me of the August's Nozbe 2.0 launch when we had to get the app ready as soon as possible.

We've been working very hard the past half of the year to get the 2.0 version ready and when we decided to launch exactly on August 11th, suddenly we knew we couldn't get all the features right on time.

We simply focused on the essential features, on the most important stuff to get the new shiny Nozbe 2.0 out there as soon as possible.

... it's because there is never enough time to get everything right.

We launched on August 11 and not all the users where really happy, because some features from Nozbe 1.0 were missing but what happened is that we embraced this fact and iterated quickly and guess what? Everyone was falling in love with Nozbe 2.0 and appreciated our effort.

Yes, we might have waited a little longer, or tried to "perfect" the features before the launch...

... but following this logic we wouldn't have launched very soon, as there are always things to "iron out" and "make perfect" and by launching fast and iterating quickly we also found out which features were the most important to our users and where we should improve the most.

Everyone should be learning from F1 Pit Lane.

Not only in a startup world - in most of the industries, it's better to launch a little early and iterate later with live user feedback. It keeps you in the loop with what your users really want and helps you stay ahead of the competition and bond with the users even more.

Someone once said: Things are never perfect and shipping is a feature.

Questions: Are you launching early or waiting till things are perfect? Even if you're not an entrepreneur or startup owner, in your life - have a look - where things could have been launched or started off quicker?
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.